Friday, December 12, 2014

Meatballs with Red Wine Marinara and Cheesy Herbed Polenta

Juicy meatballs smothered in luscious red wine marinara nestled in a rich creamy bed of cheesy herbed polenta.....heaven in a bowl!!

We are smack in the middle of the Christmas season and I am flat on my back on the sofa. Why you ask? Well, that is a darn good question! I guess I am going to plead old age? It seems that, ever since I turned 50, my body has found the need to notify me that certain parts of my body exist. LOUDLY!

On this fabulous occasion it is my back, which has been yelling at me to pay attention to it for the last day and a half. It is just about as annoying as a whiny toddler yelling, "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy. Lookie meeeeee"!  I know my back is there, there is no need to remind me, but it has chosen to remind me anyway. So I am seriously coming to you live (well, previously recorded) from my sofa. Thank God for laptops or I wouldn't be getting any work done. However I am on muscle relaxers, so I can not be held accountable if I start to randomly babble about tacos. I have been watching Food Network and the advertisement for the new show with Aaron Sanchez keeps running. It is called "Taco Time" and every time I see it my stomach starts to growl very very insistently. 

I was chatting with a friend the other day about my feelings on being 50. I told her that in my mind I still feel like I am oohhh say 35? I have the clarity, drive, and energy (for the most part) to do whatever I want to do. But the ol' bod? It just doesn't want to be a team player lately. She listened to my little rant and then informed me (after reminding me that she is almost 15 years older than me) that this "ain't nuthin'". She said that if she gets up in the morning and nothing is hurting, she checks her pulse because she is afraid she is dead!  

After that conversation I was feeling a bit dejected, and what always cheers me up when I am down? Cooking! So I decided I want to whip up something rich and cheesy and over the top comforting. Pasta is always my #1 go to ingredient when I am craving comfort food. I usually go for a reallllllly decadent mac and cheese with any and every cheese I have in my fridge. It ends up being so ooey and gooey I almost feel guilty for eating it. Notice I said almost. Ya, there is no way this girl is going to feel guilty about eating cheese. If anyone ever tells you that you are eating too much cheese stop talking to them immediately! You don't need that kind of negativity in your life!!

Butttttt for some reason pasta wasn't really clicking for me. I know, I checked my temperature and my pulse! On this occasion I was reminded of when my kids were young. My son was probably 4 and my daughter just a bit over a year. We lived in Virginia, and I used to take them to brunch, at a local restaurant, almost every Sunday. It was there that my daughter and I both discovered our love for grits. I would crumble my bacon into it, stir in some cheese, and plop my fried egg right on top. AH-MAZING!

So I decided I wanted to give my meatballs a polenta base. I mean polenta is just Italian grits right? But I didn't want just plain old polenta *yawn* boring, so I decided to add some herbed cheese to the party. I remembered an episode of The Taste where the french chef, Ludo Lefebvre, told the cooks he was working with that Boursin is the velveeta of the french world. Alrighty then, I am making fancy grits with fancy velveeta! Sounds good to me!!

Folks, it ended up being so incredibly good I didn't know if I wanted to eat, bathe in it, or marry it!! The creamy cheesy polenta is the perfect pillow of yumminess for those juicy meatballs to rest on. Then pour the gorgeous red wine marinara over the top? Ya buddy, this is pure comfort I don't care who ya are!

Kevin was thinking I was a little weird (what else is new right?) because I was putting the meatballs and marinara on polenta instead of pasta, but once I plopped a big bowl of this fabulosity in front of him, he sang a whole new tune!! He will now tout the joys of polenta to anyone that will listen to him. Seriously!

2 years ago - Chipotle Chicken Braid
3 years ago - Reuben Mac and Cheese

Meatballs with Herbed Ricotta Polenta
Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen
Published 12/13/2014
Meatballs with Herbed Ricotta Polenta


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 6-ounce cans of tomatoes paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage (if your grocer doesn't have bulk just cut open the link type)
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 1/2 cups water, more as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup uncooked polenta
  • 1 5.2-ounce container garlic and herb cheese such as Boursin
  • Several fresh basil leaves, chopped or cut into a chiffonade


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in half of the minced garlic and cook one more minute. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomatoes paste, wine, half of the chopped oregano, and the bay leaf. (Add more water if sauce seems too thick). Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer.
  2. In a large bowl mix the ground beef, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, eggs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Roll into balls and drop into the sauce. Cook 40 minutes in the sauce.
  3. Meanwhile, In a medium saucepan, combine the water and milk. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. When it simmers, sprinkle the polenta into the pot, stirring with a whisk. Add a pinch of salt and continue simmering over medium-low heat, stirring frequently with a whisk. Cook for about 20 minutes, until polenta does not have a gritty mouthfeel when tasted. Stir in the Boursin cheese and whisk until the cheese is melted.
  4. To serve, spoon a portion of polenta into a bowl. Top with several meatballs, marinara sauce, Parmesan cheese, and some of the basil.
  5. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 15 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 40 mins.
Total time: 55 mins.
Tags: onion, garlic, tomato, red wine, oregano, beef, italian sausage, parsley, egg, Parmesan cheese, polenta, cheese, basil, Italian

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